Updates!

Apologies to my readers for being so silent these past few weeks. I have been fighting, fighting, fighting and getting my ducks in a row for the future. Calling customer service, et al has (hopefully, “had”) become my full-time job while trying to get finances, kids’ busing, and my health back in order. Shew!

I have so many new ideas and research projects to share, and I hope to do so in the coming weeks, but I still have a few more loose ends to tie up first.

Thank you for your understanding!

Loura 🙂

An Open Letter to Ohio Leaders Concerning the Opioid Crisis

Dear Ohio Leaders,

 

Last night I voted via absentee ballot, as I have done for the past 3 years since my disability (which impairs my strength, stamina, and mobility) began. I was pleased to see that every leader running for office mentioned their deep and sincere concerns regarding the opioid crisis, which has hit Ohio in general hard, and my city of Dayton, particularly hard.

In my suburban neighborhood, over the past 5 years, I have personally witnessed people in terrifyingly angry states of withdrawal and people trying to get into my backyard fence while my daughter and I sat outside, unaware, until a neighbor showed us the video hours later. I have seen 2 deaths (one, a family member of my husband), heard raucous parties at all hours next door, had a car broken into, and coordinated with local police on numerous occasions. I have seen children left without parents, toddlers being dragged through the foster care system, and parents who failed rehab again and again.

At the same time, I have also witnessed neighbors with legitimate, painful, chronic disabilities, desperately asking for pain meds, terrified because they had no money for the emergency room, no money for the constant doctor appointments required now of chronic pain patients, and no doctor willing to treat them anyway. They had to work, but how could they work when doubled over in agonizing pain? They had to work, but how could they work and go to the long, frequent, and burdensome appointments needed to receive legitimate medication?

Ohio leaders have not taken the needs of chronic pain patients in mind when going after the opioid crisis. Indeed, current laws have squeezed such people so much, many feel they are either doomed to die by suicide or stress from the unrelenting pain, or be forced to obtain illegal substances (currently so much cheaper and easier to get, and increasingly without penalty-unlike the near-impossible hoops chronic pain patients have been forced to jump through) so they might survive. Ohio laws are MAKING MORE CRIMINALS where there were none.

Despite popular theories from addiction psychiatrists with no experience treating chronic pain patients; despite propaganda backed by anesthesiologists (who make up the majority of pain clinic doctors and have a great deal to gain, financially), statistically, most chronic pain patients are not opioid addicts. They desire to get back to living, while opioid addicts are trying to escape life. Both populations need help, but in different ways. Most chronic pain patients are elderly and veterans. Most chronic pain patients have already tried multiple, non-opioid approaches to manage their pain. Most chronic pain patients are not seeking a high, but simply control of their real, physical pain to get back to having quality of life. Consequently, most doctors are also responsible citizens and professionals, but their practices have been upended and in some cases unjustly destroyed because of laws that assume guilt first.

I know you want what is best for all Ohioans, so I challenge you to find innovative ways to help stem the opioid crisis, by talking to practitioners from multiple backgrounds; by talking to chronic pain patients; by talking to police officers; by talking to substance abuse counselors; by talking to addiction specialists; by talking to those with substance abuse problems. So far, we have seen the devastating effects of one-size-fits-all approaches on all of the aforementioned communities. While pain is rarely treated anymore, opioid overdose deaths continue to rise to staggering proportions. We need to regroup and come up with a better plan that involves everyone. Together, we can make Ohio great again.

Sincerely,

Loura Lawrence
Ohio native for 35 years

P.S. Please read more in-depth research on this topic and how we got here at
https://ramblingsoapbox.com/2015/04/06/wackydruglaws/

America’s Codependency Problem

Personal responsibility.

There is a crisis-level lack of it in modern American culture. Perhaps the biggest problem is all those who view themselves as mini-saviors or white knights, tripping over themselves to be responsible for others. That is an unhealthy mental/behavioral/relationship condition called, “codependency,” in which one party maintains a narcissistic attitude about the relationship and the world, and the other party smooths every facet of life over for their partner.

A “smoother” (enabler) can be a friend, teacher, doctor, preacher/priest, counselor/psychiatrist/psychologist, a spouse/significant other, parent, adult child, or any other professional or family member. The “smoother” will lie to others to make things seem much more normal than they really are. The “smoother” will make all kinds of excuses to cover over the narcissists’ bad behaviors. The “smoother” will sacrifice all of themselves-friendships, career, family members, interests, body, time, money, and self-respect to make sure the narcissist has it easy.

What the “smoother” gets out of this relationship, is a rush of endorphins; a feeling that they’ve protected, helped, given their all, done something truly great in the world. Everyone craves such feelings, but “smoothers” enable bad behavior so they can continue to feel good about themselves. They are really crippling the narcissist, reducing them to an eternal infant status, instead of helping the narcissist stand on their own two feet, discover their wings, and fly.

“The Emperor Has No Clothes”

The narcissist of course, is waited on hand and foot like a king. The “smoother”/enabler acts as an attack dog to defend the narcissist’s “honor,” to keep them from being hurt, or feeling the slightest pangs from life. But like the stereotypical, spoiled king, narcissists know they could never survive without their “smoother”/enabler. Deep down, they are scared, lonely, bored little children. Both parties are addicted to one another, craving mutual attention and praise. In essence, a codependent relationship is like a cult of one. In order to have healthier people and relationships in America, “smoothers” need to step back, and narcissists need to stand up.

It’s time to enable responsibility again.

Diverse Reading: Why You Should Not Choose Protagonists Who Look Like You

IMG_7467_small
Do not underestimate the power of the written word and its ability to influence lives for better or worse.

People ask online all the time, “I’m looking for book recommendations featuring a protagonist that- (fill in the blank) is homosexual, is a man, is a strong female, is a minority, is asexual, is a redhead, is a single parent, etc. etc.” It’s even better when readers ask for these roles in their favorite genre.

It isn’t a problem to have strong protagonist characters of a specific type featured in a novel or story or song, but it is a problem to only read books with those kinds of characters; characters who look strikingly like us. And the problem is that we indulge in a kind of literary segregation, only and ever choosing our favorites and leaving the rest-a very wide swath of literature, indeed-to collect dust on the shelves.

The entire point of reading is to explore new people and places and situations we have never encountered and possibly never will. When done right, reading broadens our expanse of understanding and sympathy, it deepens our humanity and imagination, and it takes us to new places. Reading is ultimately about thinking and learning, although reading can be great fun in the process as well. But if all we ever do is read about ourselves or our fantasy-selves, then we, by necessity exclude the rest, resulting in our own echo chamber and perpetuating the very real societal ills of racism, homophobia, and general lack of community we are currently dealing with in American culture. Be diverse in your reading, and encourage your children to be diverse.

Read about protagonists that are mentally or physically disabled; that are your opposite gender; that are a different skin color than you; a different religion; a different culture; a different language (or more challenging/antique one); a different time; who love the things you hate; who hate the things you love. Stretch your mind, and find that it is so much less what we or others look like, than our underlying humanity that connects us.